The Founding of Hector
The town was founded April 7, 1874 with the name of "Milford." At the first town meeting held June 30, 1874 at the home of James Cummings, the first officers of Milford were elected.
After learning there was already a town named Milford in Minnesota, and a hotly contested debate between those who favored the name Plainfield (after the stage stop and post office) and those who favored the name Hector (a township in New York where many settlers came from), the name was officially changed to "Hector" on July 29, 1874. (Unbeknownst to the village citizens, further research showed the other Milford was actually located in South Dakota, and they could have named their town Milford after all. W.H. Graham, John Baker, James Cummings and J.J. Clark were among the first settlers to arrive in 1873.
In 1875, a post office was established at the John Baker house with John appointed postmaster, which was located about six miles N.E. of the present Village of Hector. This post office was called the Hector Post Office and it continued to operate until the fall of 1878 at which time it was moved to the Village of Hector and re-located at the store of W.E. Griffith, who served as postmaster.
The Village of Hector
The Village of Hector was surveyed in September, 1878 on land originally owned by the Hastings & Dakota Railway. The town came to life in 1878 when W.D. Griffith, C.H. Nixon, A. Strom and others, set up businesses.
The Village of Hector was incorporated February 23, 1881 and the boundaries were as follows: All those portions of the county of Renville described as the southeast quarter (1/4) of section numbered twenty (20) and the southwest quarter (1/4) of section numbered twenty-one (21) and the west half (1/2) of section numbered twenty-nine (29) all in township numbered one hundred and fifteen (115) range thirty-two (32). The first election was held March 11, 1881, and the population in 1882 was about 250 with over 30 business places.
A school house was built in 1878 followed by a new brick building in 1883 with an addition in 1900. The school housed students for 69 years before it was demolished in 1952 and replaced with the current school.
By the early 1900's, there were:
- Six churches including First Baptist, Swedish Lutheran, Buttrich M.E., Roman Catholic, Swedish M.E. Church and the Moravian Church
- Four secret lodges including F. & A.M., Lola Chapter No. 55, Hector Lodge No. 3791, M.B.A., Hector Lodge No. 4017, M.W.A., and Hector Lodge No. 106
- Fire Department
- Two banks
- A flour mill
- A telephone system
- An opera house
- A city water system of 50 pounds of pressure per square inch